Posts Tagged With: vacation

5 Countries to Put on Your Vacation Radar

It’s time to start thinking about 2016 vacations and where you should go. In planning your vacation, there are lots of choices that we normally gravitate to like the Caribbean, Mexico and Italy but consider a couple new places that are coming on the scene in a big way. Here is a list of amazing countries to put on your vacation radar.

Iceland

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This is the closest European country to the US, being a short 5 hour flight from Boston. Forged by volcanoes and glaciers, this country offers martian views with waterfalls around every corner that will have you in awe for days.

Reykjavik is the capital and the best place to start. You could stay here an entire week but we recommend renting a car and exploring the ring road. You will pass numerous waterfalls, dormant volcanoes, dairy farms, fjords and barren landscapes. Iceland will definitely stay with you long after you leave.

Why: 4.5 hour flight from Boston
When: June- Sept
Where: Reykjavik, Vik, Akureyri, Westman Islands

Croatia

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One of the hottest countries for any traveler is this former war torn country. Steeped in ancient historic, medieval architecture, and abundant coastline, this country will have you slapping down your cash for flights into its capital Zagreb.

Croatia is still considered a bargain by many visitors and uses it local currency the kuna, which is about 6.6 per $1 USD at the time of writing. Go here for the beaches from May to August or opt for off-season travel at off-season prices.

Why: 10 hour flight from NYC
When: March-Oct
Where: Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar

Turkey

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Turkey is perhaps one of the greatest kept secrets of Europe for the American wanderer. Istanbul is a cultural gem and flipping gorgeous and intersects with the Bosphorus. To the east, there is Cappadocia, a place of whimsey with rock formations that only nature could have thought up. Turkey is also famous for it’s pristine, albeit rocky coastline that rivals anything you get in Greece at a fraction of the cost.

The locals speak English a very aggressive clip and there is a very developed tourism network that can get you anywhere in the country in comfort. Plus, the current exchange rate is gangbusters against the dollar.

Why: 8 hour flight from NYC
When: April-Sept
Where: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Efes, Turkish Coast (Fethiye-Oludeniz-Kas)

Vietnam

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Most Americans going to SE Asia make a beeline for Thailand, and you won’t hear a bad word about that country spoken from us but Vietnam has some pretty amazing things to offer. Vietnam is an operating capitalist communist country witnessing an economic rebirth. Vietnam is an interesting mix of gung ho capitalism/communism with an eclectic art and culinary scene.

Vietnam has 3,440 miles of coastline and countless stretches of undeveloped white sand beaches. Ha Noi sits in the very north of this snake-like country and still infuses a french colonial charm in the city while Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh) anchors the south and hums to the sound of a million motorbike horns in traffic. In the middle of all this is a former Japanese trading port, a now well traveled hotspot of Hoi An.

Why: 18 hour flight from SFO
When: Oct-March
Where: Ha Noi, Sai Gon, Ha Long Bay, Mui Ne, Hue, Hoi An

India

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I know India is not on most people’s top 10 or even top 100 list. It is home to 447 registered languages and 1.2 billion souls, India presents a rich tapestry of culture and diversity. Depending where you go, India has a vacation for any mood: religious pilgrimages, beach holidays, party trips, cultural tours, yoga jams or lonely wandering.

The north is the hindu language dominated, tea growing and desert regions while the south becomes flatter and more tropical, ideal for quiet lingering. If you are hard pressed for time, you can stick to an organized or guided tour that focus on the golden triangle in the north, Delhi-Taj Mahal- Jaipur or a back-water tour of Kerela in the south.

Why: 15 hour flight from NYC
When: Oct-April
Where: Delhi, Agra, Udaipur, Varnasi, Darjeeling (North)
Mumbai, Fort Kochi, Calcutta, Chennai, Pondicherry (South)

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Summertime Happiness

Without a doubt, summer is my very favorite season of the year. The reason for this is three-fold:

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1. I do not like coats. Having to wear a coat actually makes me angry. Even when the temperature necessitates a coat, I refuse to wear one.  And although I equally hate being cold, I suffer silently in protest to these annoying, bulky and cumbersome protective coverings. Thank you, summer, for your warm and balmy (albeit, humid, stifling & unbearable at times) temperatures, your long days and short nights (more time to par-tay!), and justification for flip-flops, tank tops and pony tails (a girl’s got to control the frizz!).   By the looks of this picture, my lack of enthusiasm for coats has been evident for the majority of my life.

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2. It’s almost football season. Now I know most people equate football with the fall (my third favorite season), but training camp begins mid-summer, games begin in August (it’s pre-season, but who cares) and the grills are fully warmed up and seasoned for tailgating.   Since most of my team gear (GO Panthers!) is short-sleeved and I have an aversion to cold weather (see above), the late summer and early (very early) fall games are ideal.  Bring on the burgers, brews, corn hole and Luke Kuechly!!

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3.  I looooove summer vacations! I especially love the beach.  Love sun bathing, love the sound of ocean waves, love the smell of salt air and sunscreen, love long walks along the shore, love getting up early to see the sunrise & then the next day sleeping in without setting  an alarm.  Reading books, playing bocce ball, building sand castles, riding bikes and firing up the blender (it’s never to early to say “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”).  The anticipation of vacation gets me through long and stressful work weeks, monotonous day-to-day tasks and the months of January through March (barely!).  Long or short, with family or with friends, summer vacations as a child and with my children are some of my fondest memories!  And in less than 48 hours, Beach Week 2014 begins… Peace Out!!

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